Tuesday, September 19, 2017 Elyria 74°


NOACA delays decision on weighted vote


Lorain County Commissioner Betty Blair will have to wait until September for a vote on whether the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency will change the controversial weighted voting process that nearly stopped approval of a planned Interstate 90 interchange two years ago.

NOACA`s board on Friday voted to table a planned vote on the change that Blair and others have been pushing since 2007.

Critics say the weighted vote, which increases the voting power of Cuyahoga County members of NOACA, is unfair and allows the larger county to dictate what happens in Geauga, Lake, Lorain and Medina counties.

After Cuyahoga County nearly derailed the Avon interchange project, officials from Lorain County threatened to pull out of NOACA if the weighted vote wasn`t eliminated. The interchange only was approved by NOACA after Avon agreed to a tax-sharing plan.

Blair said NOACA`s been talking about the change for nearly two years and she`s ready for a decision. The compromise that was tabled Friday would have required two counties to request the weighted vote instead of just allowing Cuyahoga County officials to decide to use it on their own.

"Let`s do it up or down and be done with it," she said.

Even without the weighted vote, Cuyahoga County has more votes on the NOACA board than the other four member counties put together, Blair said.

But Elyria Mayor Bill Grace, who serves as NOACA`s president, said that had the vote gone forward Friday, the change to the weighted vote would have been defeated by Cuyahoga County officials.

By tabling it until the fall, Grace said, there will be more time to work out a compromise that everyone can live with.

"I think there`s a point in between those opposed to the weighted vote and those in Cuyahoga County," he said.

Grace said he believes the weighted vote needs to be changed, but he`s not sure how yet.

If nothing changes, Blair said, Lorain County can still go its own way.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.

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